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Phyllis Chebet with her daughter Sharleen, aged 3, at her home, Changara village, Busia Kenya 2017

Child Rights Governance

Kenya has made significant progress in Child rights governance since it ratified the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in 1990 and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child in 2001. The Constitution of Kenya 2010 is now in place, thus providing ample legal ground to review a host of other national legislations to bring them in harmony with international standards. The New Constitution has also broken new grounds by making provision for socio-economic rights. These include guaranteeing every person the right to the highest attainable standard of health, accessible and housing, food of an acceptable quality, clean and safe water, social security and education. If properly implemented, children will benefit immensely from the progressive realisation of such socio-economic rights. The implementation of socio-economic rights rests on the assumption that resources are scarce and therefore not all the rights can be implemented at once. Therefore, states are urged to implement the rights progressively. Progressive realisation of such rights, requires states to demonstrate that they are systematically increasing budgetary allocations to the rights of the population. 

The new constitution has embraced two critical aspects of governance, namely devolution and public participation. The law anticipates that the country will be governed at two levels: the national and county levels. The law further requires that at least 15% of the government revenue will be distributed objectively to the 47 counties across the country. The county governments and members of the public within the counties are expected to plan and effectively utilise these funds. The public is expected to play a critical role in the allocation and utilisation of the funds, both at the national and devolved units.

Abdigafar, 6 months, with a Save the Children member of staff, at the outpatient clinic

Our Child Rights Governance interventions in Kenya, have focused broadly on four strands of work: 

  1. Budget advocacy with a view of lobbying for child friendly budgets at both national and county levels. Our budget advocacy work addresses itself to both the revenue and expenditure aspects of national and target sub national budgets.   
  2. International treaty reporting, where we provide technical and financial support in the preparation of Complementary Reports to: the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights and the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights. We have also supported the development of “children voices” in the Universal Periodic Review Report.   
  3. Influencing policies and legislation to be in accordance with the international standards on child rights.  
  4. Supporting the participation of children and young persons in governance matters, taking advantage of available platforms at both levels. 
Josephine, 9 years old, walking with her mum Celina in Lodwar, Turkana.